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Kill-switches cut London’s smartphone theft in half

A new report reveals the number of smartphone thefts in London has fallen by 50 per cent since Apple added kill switches to the iPhone in September 2013.

The data, provided by authorities to Reuters, also showed that the number of stolen iPhones fell by 40 per cent in San Francisco, and 25 per cent in New York following the move.

Kill-switches allow phones to be disabled remotely once stolen, effectively rendering smartphone theft redundant.

London’s Mayor Boris Johnson said: “We have made real progress in tackling the smartphone theft epidemic that was affecting many major cities just two years ago.”

Currently, Apple, Samsung, and Google have all implemented software-level kill-switches on their smartphones. Microsoft will join that roster with Windows 10 this year.

Related: Best Smartphone 2015

Qualcomm recently announced its own hardware-level kill-switch, set to debut in the new Snapdragon 810 chipset.

Snapdragon chips are a staple of the Android smartphone community, so this inclusion will mean a huge number of future handsets will be better protected against theft at chip-level.

The advantage of having a hardware solution is that the kill-switch becomes far more difficult to tamper with.

This makes re-selling stolen phones more difficult, because the actual chip would need to be cracked.

It also means that the kill-switch starts working as soon as the device is booted up, rather than having to wait for the operating system to load.

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